The most recent Forrester Wave™ evaluation covering commerce solutions for B2C, published this week, crystallized several shifts in the B2C market over the past two years.

  • Replatforming is out, for the most part … Most B2C digital business leaders we’ve spoken with by and large want to extend the lives of their existing commerce solutions. Simply put, they are not planning to adopt a new commerce solution in the near future. For the B2C digital businesses already on one of these modern, cloud-based commerce solutions, there likely isn’t “greener grass.” As a major retailer told me, “I can’t justify the costs and the business case to replatform.”
  • … while smaller, targeted tech changes are in. Targeted tech changes are replacing many large replatforming projects, as we predicted. This means digital leaders will have to focus on the individual tech functions that will bring attributable results in the short term.

So How Do These Shifts Impact The 2024 B2C Commerce Solutions Evaluation?

As a refresher, the Forrester Wave™ scoring methodology provides three potential scores, representing an above-par score (wow — raised the bar!), an on-par score (good job — this meets the needs of the market), and a below-par score (weaker than others in the evaluation). All scoring is relative, meaning that we score every vendor for each criterion relative to all other vendors in the Wave.

We found that most of the vendors that we evaluated in this Wave:

  • Have strong core commerce functionality. Core functionality in this case includes criteria such as cart & checkout, practitioner UX, and payments. It also includes criteria that sound noncore, like order & inventory management as well as content & assets. Vendors received the full range of scores for their core commerce capabilities.
  • Don’t lead in much of the functionality outside the core. Vendors only received the highest scores for non-core commerce functionality if it rivaled what its customers would find in specialized, stand-alone solutions. But the non-core criteria often win the deals. Frequently, when our brand and retailer clients call us for help evaluating new solutions, we focus on the non-core, more unusual functionality. These are the areas of differentiation, where solutions bubble to the surface as uniquely positioned for the needs of that business.

The Upshot?

  • This evaluation is less a buyer’s guide and instead more a retention tool that supports digital leaders as they look to get more value from their existing solution. Plus, this Wave has no vendors in the Leaders ring.
  • There are multiple criteria for which no vendors received the highest scores because their included functionality was not comparable to the stand-alone vendors for that functionality.
  • Overall scores were lower across the board because there were far fewer of the highest scores. This shifted all vendors down on the graphic, making it much harder to hit the Leaders ring.

As A Customer Of These Vendors, Here’s How To Advocate For Yourself Now

  1. Identify areas of legacy systems to deprecate — and negotiate adjusted pricing as you do.
  2. Seek add-on functions (specialty, stand-alone offerings, or individual components from vendors with larger portfolios) that will add short-term value.
  3. Negotiate with your commerce vendor when it’s time for renewal.
  4. Follow your commerce vendor’s updates. They’re working hard to retain you! Stay informed about new acquisitions, partnerships, integrations, functionality, and even financial concessions to incentivize you to stay.
  5. Remember that we’re here to help! Schedule a guidance session or inquiry with me so I can help you navigate this complex market.

For lots more insight around the state of this market, register for my Ask The Analysts webinar on May 21, 2024, and make sure to attend live so that you can ask me all your questions about what this all means — and what to do about it now. (If you’re reading this after that date, you can still watch the recording!)

Want to talk more about your own commerce solution needs? Let’s talk — Forrester clients, please book a guidance session or inquiry with me!